Mothers should be prevented, through education, from using drugs while pregnant.
As a result of the illicit drug use, the children require intense monitoring by their pediatrician. Women who use cocaine while pregnant -- especially those who are likely to get noticed as addicts or be tested for drugs in the hospital -- tend also to drink more booze, smoke more cigarettes, and dip into a greater variety of illicit drugs than other women. Cocaine is not truly associated with any pattern of defects. Nor does it produce infantile withdrawal, like opiates. Today there is something approaching scientific consensus that cocaine increases the risk of low birth weight and perhaps premature delivery. Left unmonitored and untreated, the babies, as shown by studies have long term developmental delays.
This article explains to any reader that there are serious ramifications with illicit drug ingestion during pregnancy. Moreover, it explains that the child is severely damaged and begins life at a tremendous disadvantage. It explains the mental, social, educational, physical and legal implications of this behavior on the child. It is important for doctors and their employees to learn about in utero drug use from a suspected mother because the babies need treatment. The key is to question them in a manner that is non threatening and non judgmental. The mothers will already feel guilt or fear about legal consequences. Toxicology testing alone will not provide all of the information needed. Above all, pediatricians must be able to identify babies that have been exposed to neo natal drug use.
3.) What are the ramifications if the problem is not addressed
If the problem is not addressed, there will be an outbreak of drug addicted babies. Some of the defects these babies suffer remain undiscovered. The failure to teach the mothers the dangers of drug use to their babies is sure to create repeat behavior. Moreover, there is a strong likelihood of the children being exposed to physical, emotional and sexual abuse. This is a pattern that will continue to repeat itself. Forced intervention, according to the academy will not work. Mothers will not seek help for themselves or their babies if there is the threat of jail. The academy feels that the only intervention that will be effective is education.
5) What are the tangible benefits of resolving the problem
The tangible benefits of course, are healthy mothers and children. The educated parents can not only help their babies, but teach them the importance of maintaining a drug free life. In short, a positive cycle is created instead of the negative one discussed in the article. There will not be an overflow in an already taxed foster care system. There will not be criminal charges, and separation of mothers and their children which is often the result of Child Protective Services Interventions, without the needed support.
4) Describe and evaluate any solutions provided in the article.
The article mentioned several ways to educate mothers suspected of taking illicit drugs. The article encourages pediatric employees to take a social work approach in informing the community about the dangers of